Police break up Occupy Portland camps, protesters declare victory

Posted Nov 14, 2011 by JohnThomas Didymus
Occupy Portland protesters began breaking up camp on Sunday only after a Saturday midnight deadline expired. As the deadline approached, crowds joined the protesters in two downtown camps in defiance of police order.
Police arresting protesters at Occupy Portland
Police arresting protesters at Occupy Portland
NY Daily News reports that as the deadline approached, protesters held general meetings, even as more people streamed into the parks. Soon, there were thousands of protesters and supporters ready to defy police order. The protesters had invited crowds to join them so it would be difficult for police to physically break up the camps. As more people joined the protesters, an organizer was heard through a bullhorn, saying: "Remain peaceful and aware, we have strength in holding the streets."
The crowds first filled into the camps and then spilled over into the street between the camps and the federal courthouse. Riot police, however, handled the crowd with caution and withdrew as dawn approached. The crowd which joined the protesters began thinning out as dawn broke while some of the camped protesters were seen dismantling their camps and leaving.
The crowd that gathered toward midnight, according to NY Daily News, seemed more in festive than bellicose mood. Around 4 a.m., hours after the deadline had expired, the crowd poured into the street and police formed a defensive line. The protesters faced the police, banging drums, clanging bells and dancing in a generally festive mood. Some of them set up makeshift barricades with pallets and old furniture across the street.
When toward dawn, the police told them to leave the street, they obeyed and removed the barricades.
The protesters, however, proclaimed victory. Jim Oliver, one of the organizers of the protest, declared jubilantly that the protesters "stood state power."
But by daylight, some of the original protesters, who had been camping out since October 6, were still in the parks.
Detroit Free Press reports than on Sunday, shortly before noon, police moved in and forced out protesters who were still in the parks. Police spokesman Sgt. Peter Simpson, said more than 50 protesters were arrested on Sunday afternoon. The police action brought several hundred protesters back into the streets. The marched down the street, some wearing goggles and gas masks. Their numbers increased towards evening, forcing officers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defensive lines. The protesters marched past and the police retreated.
Mayor Adams, on Sunday, at a news conference, defended his decision to clear the park, saying that keeping law and maintaining peace was his duty.
Digital Journal recently reported that police alleged the Occupy Portland protesters were digging reinforced holes and preparing for street battle with the police, after Mayor Sam Adams gave them until Saturday midnight to break up their encampments in two adjacent camps. The police, according to Digital Journal ,alleged that:
"There may even be as many as 150 anarchists who will arrive soon...There is information that people may be in the trees during a police action and that there are people who are attempting to obtain a large number of gas masks."
Occupy Portland protesters, however, denied the report, insisting their protest is non-violent.
Mayor Sam Adams, who ordered closure of the camp, had said, in a press conference, that implementing the order for closure would be done with patience. Police say, however, that one officer suffered minor injuries after he was hit in the leg by a missile.
Police, in several cities in the U.S., are serving Occupy protesters eviction notices after three deaths occurred in separate camps across the country. Digital Journal reports:
"Police...are...worried that the Occupy encampments may be providing haven for crooks."